On the election: “Believers have been given a great gift”

Elizabeth Scalia writes in First Things, striking a chord or two of realism and common-sense spiritual hope:

Like Moses, we let pride overcome our mission. The conservatives—obsessing on greatness—refused to acknowledge any weakness. But there is always weakness; not admitting mistakes is the greatest of them. By refusing to cede error or suggest moderation, the right allowed the left to grab on to moral arguments so few were making—about greed, and selfishness, and triumphalism—and to pervert them through the filter of secular statism, until limited taxation, individual accomplishment, and strategic military defense became caricatured as great moral evils, and most other matters became relative. In a great irony, the secularists who warned of encroaching theocracy just a few years ago claimed that the government’s way was the godly way and golly, the people were all right with that, because theological nuance just complicates things, anyway.

And that is how the GOP lost and the Democrats won; through pride and error. Our job at this point is not to save the nation. The nation is tumbling precisely the way the philosophers said it would when it became over-reliant on government. Our job, now is to save each other; to help spiritually strengthen each other for all that is yet to come.

Earlier in the week, I had an exchange with an overwrought woman who declared herself “done with God” because she had prayed for a GOP victory and felt abandoned. It became clear that the “shining city on the hill” meant everything to her; “America is not supposed to end,” she said. When I suggested that such pride might have played a part in this defeat—that Moses was not permitted to enter the Promised Land because of pride, and the GOP is no Moses—she railed again. When I asked her what she could worship in the nation’s stead, she replied, “nothing.”

That sort of immature faith will not sustain us through the difficult times ahead.

Believers who feel defeated by this election have actually been given a great gift; they’ve been given the opportunity to divest themselves of the sin of idolatry and pride. The battle is not between parties; it is between things seen and unseen. It is between light and dark. The stuff before our eyes, all these earthly concerns, earthly governance—it plays out ultimately for the profit of our souls, not our retirement accounts. If we are professing Christians then we understand the narrative is moving forward to a certain conclusion; the pageant of salvation leads, always, to a complete divesting of everything that has come before. The only way to victory, now is to put the Gipper to rest, and play strictly for God. And God’s ways are not our ways, his thoughts not our thoughts, his “shining city on a hill” like nothing in our imagining.

There’s much more.  Read it all.  


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